BMW continues expanding the 3 Series line with a tall GT wagon to join the regular sedan and station wagon.
Base gasoline turbo-four-cylinder makes 180 and 240 horsepower; 300-horsepower six-cylinder returns in 335i; ActiveHybrid makes 335 combined horses; new turbo-diesel 328d good for 180 horses and 280 pound-feet of torque.
BMW continues to expand its 3 Series line at an astounding rate. Building on the 2013 Sport Wagon introduction comes the range-topping Gran Turismo. The GT’s biggest benefit is space: its chassis is shared with the China-only long-wheelbase 3 sedan, which means 5 Series-beating rear legroom without the extra size on the outside. The GT sits about an inch higher than the sedan for easier passenger access. All three body styles use the 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in 328i guise (180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet in the price-leading 320i). Meanwhile, the 335i sedan and GT get a 300-horsepower six-cylinder engine, but all powerplants benefit from BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission. The manually inclined, however, can stick with the tried-and-true six-speed gearbox. Also back this year is xDrive all-wheel-drive available with nearly any combination of engine and transmission. For power and fuel economy, the rear-drive ActiveHybrid 3 is the top dog here, for now. Using the 335i’s turbo engine and eight-speed automatic, the hybrid adds a 55-horsepower electric motor and lithium-ion battery for a combined 335 horsepower. The ActiveHybrid can drive on electricity alone at up to 45 mph and can drive up to 2.5 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in. When it does, it’s currently the quickest 3 Series around with a zero-to-60-mph sprint of just 5.3 seconds. Fuel economy is slightly better than the 328i at 25/33 mpg (city/highway). Also to stretch driving dollars, the new 328d uses a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder with 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The turbo-diesel can get up to 45 mpg on the highway. More importantly, it’s available in both the sedan and Sport Wagon and can be paired with all-wheel-drive. Standard for all models is what BMW calls ECO PRO mode that, when activated, cuts horsepower to save fuel (as much as 20 percent). A special instrument-panel display indicates how the 3′s range has been extended. That’s just the sort of content that is likely to spread across the rest of the 3 Series line.
Base price (incl. destination): $33,700 (320i sedan); $39,000 (wagon, est.); $50,800 (hybrid)
Type: Four-door sedan; station wagon
Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (180-240)
Optional engines (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC I6, turbocharged (300, 335i); 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbo-diesel (180); 3.0-liter DOHC I6, turbocharged, electric assist (335, hybrid)
Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; eight-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/hwy): 24/36 (320i)
Safety: Front airbags, side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,300